"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18, NAS95)
The conversation surrounding Jesus’ words concern His departure from His closest friends. They didn’t grasp the fullness of their meaning, and had I been in their place, I doubt I would have grasped it either. Jesus knew He would sacrifice His life for them—and us. One sacrifice on behalf of the whole world providing the way for Him to be with each one of us.
Honestly, I still grapple with the meaning of Jesus’ statement. Yet, as I have grown over the years as one of His followers, these words have taken on a meaning I had not even contemplated when I first trusted Jesus. His one sacrifice opened up the doorway of real, felt, and experienced connection with the God of the universe. At the beginning of my Christian life, I had no idea that meant Jesus wanted to lead me into the familiarity of His presence with me. Since He wasn’t visible, I felt lucky when my prayers received a positive answer. I truly didn’t consider Him near or available, much less present with me. I didn’t even think He cared to listen. He had too much to do and more important matters to attend to. Yet, He continued to gently attune me to His presence, and today I can say I expect interaction from Him in response to my prayers. I have even noticed that He starts conversations with me.
As the verse states, Jesus did come to me, and He keeps coming to me, and my gratitude grows for His sacrifice that reconciled me to Himself. He meant what He said; He wouldn’t leave me as an orphan. He guided me early on, through the community of His people, to cultivate a disciplined spiritual life through which my familiarity with Him grew and continues to mature today. While I still grapple with Jesus’ words cited above, it has more to do with the wonder I carry at His desire to make me familiar with His presence, to recognize His interactions with me. I am amazed I have such a privilege. His one sacrifice means that privilege exists for all who follow, including you!
Warmly in Christ, Doug Mitts
“But I’m in the very presence of God—oh, how refreshing it is! I’ve made Lord GOD my home. God, I’m telling the world what You do!” (Psalm 73:28, The Message)
What spiritual practices or disciplines best help you attune to God’s interactive presence?
How is your familiarity with God maturing and how intentional are you in making space for that to be cultivated in your life?